Smoking pipe: Top tips for cleaning pipes

by Taylor Hamilton

Smoking pipe: Top tips for cleaning pipes

by Taylor Hamilton

by Taylor Hamilton

There is more to smoking pipe than lighting up its contents and enjoying the hits. There is also the maintenance aspect, and this should be taken seriously. Unlike cigarettes, smoking pipes are not disposable; they are used repeatedly. As such, they get dirty after every smoking session and require cleaning from time to time.

As you can imagine, smoking from pipes that are not properly cleaned poses health risks to the smoker, which is not something anyone should look up to.

To prevent your smoking pipes from getting extremely dirty and unsanitary, you should make a habit of removing leftover tobacco (or any other contents) from the pipes. That way, you would have hindered the growth of bacteria and saved yourself from puffing unhygienic smoke.

What happens if your smoking pipe is not properly cleaned?

Unless you’re just joining at this point, you would already have an idea of what not caring for your smoking pipe can result in. Social or occasional smokers are advised to schedule weekly and monthly cleanings, while avid smokers are expected to clean their pipes after each use.

As you can imagine, a properly cleaned and maintained smoking pipe will keep bacteria away and prevent dirt or tobacco from building up. Regarding cleaning smoking pipes, how often you would have to clean the pipe is dependent on how much you smoke.

Different categories of smokers will have different smoking pipe cleaning routines. And, of course, the cleaning steps will also vary. However, regardless of how often you use your smoking pipe, it’s best to have them cleaned out at least once or twice a week.

Knowing the different parts of a smoking pipe

smoking pipe

Before sharing easy smoking pipe cleaning steps with you, it would help if you had an idea of the different parts of a smoking pipe. That way, you would know what parts to pay more attention to and how to go about cleaning without damaging any parts.

A typical smoking pipe has two parts connected— the stummel and the stem.

  • The stem

 To not confuse you with technical jargon, the pipe’s stem is where you put your mouth to puff. The stem also comprises the button, the bitbans the tenon, all of which connect it (that is, the stem) to the stummel.

  • The stummel

The stummel is the part of the pipe where you “load” the contents, say tobacco or your favorite strain. Similar to the stem of the smoking pipe, the stummel also comprises other parts — the chamber ( which is where the contents go), the shank, the mortise, the draught hole, and the bowl. Making time to familiarize with all these parts makes it incredibly easy to clean and maintain the pipe.

What tools do you need to clean a smoking pipe?

As the famous saying goes, a farmer should know his tools. Similarly, the best way to clean your pipe is to use the right tools. Having the right cleaning tools makes it easy to deep clean the pipe and not miss any spot.

The tools you will be needing include Q-tips ( for reaching the nooks and crannies of the smoking pipe), paper towels, alcohol ( for sanitizing and killing bacteria), shot glass ( for holding little quantities of alcohol you can dip your Q-tips into), and pipe cleaners.

The pipe cleaners should have soft bristles that are still hard enough to remove dirt without leaving marks. Then there are the reamer and pipe tools. The reamer is used to remove layers of charred tobacco that’s lining the pipe’s bowl while the pipe tool comes in handy for packing the pipe and also cleaning.

Steps for cleaning a smoking pipe

Cleaning a smoking pipe is easier than most people think. You start by cleaning the rim. Then the shank and stem. Afterward, you can ream and soak the bowl in salt solution or alcohol.